In my former life - before motherhood, student, Counsellor, Behavioural Scientist - I was a make-up artist. I knew from the time I was 12 that applying colourful 'masks' to women's faces would be my first career and for 15 years it was, and I loved it...until at the age of 19 I began questioning who I was in the world and for what was my true purpose. I'd had my mid-life crisis a bit young, you see...
In the late 80's, early 90's, as a make-up artist working in a couple of top range and very popular cosmetics stores I was talented, successful and could have kept moving up in the ranks. I trained staff in make-up techniques. I dabbled in runway make-up, special effects make-up, photography make-up and ended up with my love, wedding make-up. I was the calm in the storm of one of the most important days a woman goes through and I loved it. I loved making women feel beautiful. I loved seeing them glow with that knowing that they were in the spotlight, and I'd contributed to that glow. But this glow, it seemed to me, was superficial and temporary. In the stores women would come up to me and ask me to 'find them their perfect colour'...and I would think to myself...'go out, get a life, and then come in and choose for yourself'...Uh oh! I knew I had burned out. I had lost the meaning, purpose and artistic side of being a make-up artist.
At the same time I had also gone out and gotten a life and had begun to 'choose for myself'...I had looked below the surface of who I was as a make-up artist, and below the mask of all the make-up I had worn for so many years.
What masks do we hide behind when we go out into the world, whether they're colourful or not?
What mask was I hiding behind...and who was I not willing or able to reveal to the world?
These were the beginning questions that prompted me to end my career as a make-up artist. And I haven't looked back since then. In fact, I shunned wearing cosmetics for years! Only since finding my true self have I been able to adorn my face with make-up, on special occasions or for work, but only to enhance now, not to cover-up. To enhance...but not to cover up...
It was in distinguishing my true self that allowed the masks I used to fall away. I have become someone I like and love...from the inside out. I now no longer need to cover up my outer self to appease any feeling of lack from within.
I also know I am not perfect. Sometimes I feel 'not good enough' but rather than apply another mask, I find out where 'not good enough' is coming from and address it.
I'll point out right here, that there is a big difference between hiding behind the mask of 'not good enough' with superficial decorations and adorning the shrine of our true loving selves! I had to strip away all that was superficial to discover the golden shrine that lay beneath.
Which leads me to a story of a golden Buddha statue...
And the story goes something like this...
In the 13-14th century there was a solid gold statue of Buddha, Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon, that was highly valued and needed to be protected from theft during war. It was covered in plaster to ensure its safety. Due to being re-homed many times through many countries, its hidden treasure was forgotten. Until one day in 1955, it slipped from its ropes during a move and fell to the ground. Some of the plaster chipped away, revealing its true center of gold within.
I tell this story because sometimes masks serve as protection. I used make-up as a way of hiding my true self, because I had yet to discover my golden treasure within, and because I needed protection. I understand why people feel the need to use masks if what they need to protect is too delicate or sensitive to share with the world. As a child and young adult I needed to hide a part of myself from the world because the world seemed a scary place, but through self-growth and coming to like who I am now I feel that I no longer need those masks anymore. I like me a lot! I really dig who Ava Reyerson is! And so the the make-up, jewelry, and clothing I now choose to wear adorns me, it enhances the best of me, and shows the world my true self with a splash of colour...preferably turquoise and red of course!
And, as the image at the top states...I am finally at home...whew!
For another day, I am passionately yours,
Here you will find the musings of me...